A big congratulations to Joe Gordon, Rickey, and Jim Rice on becoming Hall of Famers.
Here’s an interesting LA Times article on the man who broke the umpiring color barrier. Emmett Ashford didn’t just break the barrier, he broke it with flair.
Apparently he wore french cuffs, gleaming cuff links, and supremely polished shoes. His ball/strike and out calls were pure theater. Check out this photo and you’ll get the idea.
Mr. Ashford spend 15 years in the minor leagues, 12 of them in the Pacific Coast League. He broke into the big leagues in 1965 at the age of 51 and called it quits after umpiring the 1970 World Series.
I had to laugh when I read this part of the article… During games, he was accurate and courteous. Once, when a 3-and-0 count turned into a walk, Ashford told the batter, “That, sir, is a ball, and you may now proceed in the general direction of first base.”
Geez, umpires get yelled at anyway…can you imagine how much abuse Emmett Ashford must have endured as the first black umpire? And to do it with that much style and grace…awesome. I would have loved to have met you Mr. Ashford or caught a game in front of you.
If I had a vote, I’d put you in the Hall of Fame right now.